acting as a barometer

Cloud Seeding, Design Museum, Holon, Israel, 2015, MODU

Cloud Seeding is a project designed by the interdisciplinary studio MODU.  Founders Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem spoke last night at Japan Society. The event was entitled Inside Out/Outside In: Second Nature in Japanese Architecture.  The connection to Japanese architecture was as elusive as the presentation.

Cloud Seeding, Design Museum, Holon, Israel, MODU


“We leverage the environment especially weather dynamics =
to shape our experience of a place.” MODU

Cloud Seeding is a pavilion, a performance space, a hang-out or as the Rachely Rotem and Phu Hoang describe it “an interactive public space.”  The structure is not unusual, its a typical greenhouse construction.  It’s the roof or ceiling that is  amazing – it’s made out of fabric mesh that allows the wind to move the 30,000 balls made from recycled water bottles that sit on top of it.  Depending on the strength of the breeze, the balls move in various patterns, creating shadows on the ground plane, which in turn provide shade.

Watch the video (link above)  to see the how the wind/roof
can heighten your awareness

Outdoor Room / Beijing, 2013, 5,000 sq. ft. MODU

The structure of Outdoor Room is very beautiful. The intention of its designers goes beyond creating a place to sit, or attend a performance or gathering:  “The Outdoor Room is in dialogue with the surrounding environment; acting as a barometer of the city’s air quality.” MODU

It is common knowledge that Beijing is one the most polluted cities in the world.  The Outdoor Room is a place that amplifies how pollution effects urban dwellers.  The city disappears and reappears through the large elliptical roof opening. On a “good” day visibility frames vast views of the city, on a poor  air quality day, it’s impossible to view anything.

Watch the video to see how the views change
with the level of pollution.

On the interior, the colors produced by the pollution — mottled blues, greys and yellows — are reflected and diffused by panels of translucent fabric. The architecture renders the atmosphere into a mutating spectacle of changing colors. MODU

Exhale Pavilion, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2010

Exhale was the winning competition in the Oceanfront Competition, held by Art Basel Miami and Creative Time in 2010.  MODU collaborates with engineers, marine biologists, climate scientists and social scientists on most of their projects. Their work cuts across many disciplines, and includes innovative technologies.

Exhale Pavilion, MODU

Again, this project is about creating a gathering place for the public and a performance venue. The location was an unpopulated section of Miami beach.

Watch the video to understand the space.

MODU created a network of reflective and phosphorescent light ropes to create a structure that moves with the breezes off the ocean.  Using technology, the seven miles of ropes are activated by wind-speed sensors.  The ropes can also be  activated byan individual blowing on a rope.

Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem talked about the “afterlife” of this project.  Sustainability is a key aspect to all their work. Exhale unlike many art competition projects did not end with the competition timeline.  The concrete bases and steel were donated to the Department of Environmental Resources and were used to create an artificial reef off the coast of Miami. According to Hoang and Rotem, coral is beginning to grow in this new environment. As difficult as it was to understand the exact nature of these projects in the talk last night, click to MODU … and all I want to do is go one of their project locations and experience these interactive environments.



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